Some Medicine for a Rough Monday

You may be having a rough morning. The Nats lost their 103rd game over the weekend and were swept by an NL East rival. If you watched the game, you know that they had a great chance to win on Sunday but blew taking the lead late in the game (man on third nobody out). That translated into extra innings, and a loss. Apparently this town had some problems in other sports as well. So rather than spend the WHOLE day complaining or being upset, here are a few things about the Nats that should make you happy:

  1. Ryan Zimmerman – Signed to be a franchise player this past offseason, people criticized the deal, saying he wasn’t worth the same money as guys like Youkilis and Markakis. He’s really come on this year, still very young, he has hit 32 HRs and is hitting .288/.361/.519 with only a week to go. Over 100 runs and RBIs are nice, too. As for the guys he was compared to, his WARP of 6.6  puts him at #23 in the majors, Youkilis’ 5.6 is 46th and Markakis’ 1.2 is way down at 428 on the list. Zimmerman also has a higher VORP (49.6) than the other two (48.3 and 20.5). By the way, today’s Ryan’s birthday, he’s turning 25. Youkilis is 30, Markakis will be 26 in 2 months. Happy Birthday, Ryan!
  2. Mike Rizzo – There’s a real GM here. Isn’t it nice to hear this guy speak rather than the last one? The level of competence just seems off the charts compared to the previous GM, and compared to GM-types on other local teams. (Speaking of that – hey Daniel Snyder, look up the road to Baltimore. No, not the Ravens, the Orioles. Remember the meddling owner who had to get his hands in everything and always needed to have his opinion heard? He’s been a paragon of virtue since he hired Andy MacPhail. I’m just saying… you can do it!)
  3. The Offseason – Maybe getting excited for the offseason is a Washington, DC thing, but this year, the winter could be very interesting for the Nats. They have, as I said, a real GM who seems to know what he’s doing. They’ll sign some pitchers, and try to make this team respectable. I don’t think they’re going to make a big splash in the free agent pool, but they’ll do something. And maybe even try to unload some of their older guys.
  4. Josh Willingham -  Willingham had quite an impressive 2009. He’s mired in a slump right now but this is a guy who is finally hitting like people thought he could, setting career highs in OBP, SLG and OPS despite his poor September.
  5. The Middle of the Lineup – Speaking of Willingham, this team’s 3-4-5 hitters are top shelf.
  6. Ian Desmond – He’s fun to watch play the field, his range is incredible, and he looks like he can hit well enough to keep a middle infield spot. Also, he’s only 23. This is the kind of guy who should be starting on this team.
  7. Young pitchers – Sure, alot of them have been beat up, but that’s alot of throwing guys at the wall and seeing what sticks. Meanwhile, some of these young guys have real promise to be something better than a fill in. I’m looking forward to seeing what 2010 brings for John Lannan(24), Ross Detwiler (24), Tyler Clippard (24),  Collin Balester (23), Josh Wilkie (25), and Drew Storen.
  8. Adam Dunn’s Home Runs – They are something beautiful to watch leave the ballpark.
  9. Jesus Flores – If he can stay healthy next year, he extends the lineup considerably. It is impossible to overstate the kind of improvement his bat brings compared with the catchers they have playing now.
  10. Stephen Strasburg – He’s coming, and hell’s coming with him. Ok, seriously, we haven’t even really seen him pitch. But in a week, he’ll get going. He’ll start Oct 5 in instructional League, have one more start beyond that before heading out to the Arizona Fall League.
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